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Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?

The Local Spain
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Single parents in Spain: What benefits and aid are you eligible for?
Single parent benefits in Spain. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

Raising a child on your own is always difficult, but it can be even more challenging if you’re living in a country that isn’t your own. Fortunately, there are several financial measures in place to help single parents in Spain.

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According to the latest figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) available, there were 1,944,800 single-parent families in Spain in 2020. This figure includes foreigners with Spanish residency.

Human resources firm Adecco found that the number has increased by 78 percent in recent years. Nine out of every 10 single parents in Spain are women.

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In Spain, a single parent is defined as:

  • A man or a woman who faces motherhood or fatherhood alone, whether through natural conception, assisted reproduction, adoption or surrogacy, which has been carried out abroad.
  • A widowed spouse and their children.
  • Families formed by a separated or divorced mother or father who remains in charge of the children without shared custody. They must be the sole earner in supporting the children. 

Single-parent family certificate

Firstly, in order to be able to benefit from government help, you will need to apply for what’s called a single-parent family card or certificate (carnet de familia monoparental).

This is a certificate that proves that you are a single parent and enables you to not only receive benefits but also tax reductions and discounts. The certificate is valid for four years, after which you must renew it. It can be applied for online through your region's government website. For example, here's where you need to apply for the one in Catalonia. 

Depending on where you live in Spain, it could help with:

  • Social housing
  • Government handouts
  • Subsidised property tax (IBI)
  • Discount on transport tickets

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What are the benefits available?

Benefits for the birth of a child

If you are a single parent who has a baby or adopts one, you will be eligible for a one-off single payment of €1,000, which is exempt from tax, as long as you earn less than €11,547.96 per year. Further aid is available to those who have a child who is more than 33 percent disabled.

Aid for dependent children

Single parents with children under the age of 18 will get a tax-free payment of €341 per year, divided into two payments if they earn under €12,313 per year. This threshold rises to €13,747 if you have two children and €18,532 if you have three children.

Minimum Vital Income

Single parents may also be eligible for Minimum Vital Income, depending on their income and status. For 2022 the monthly amounts are:

  • €747.28 for a single-parent family made up of an adult and a minor.
  • €894.77 for a single-parent family made up of one adult and two minors.
  • €1,042.26 for a single-parent family with three minors.
  • €1,189.75 for a single-parent family of one adult and four minors.

Childcare benefit

Working single parents can also get aid in the form of childcare. For example, if you hire a nanny, you will get a 45 percent discount on the social security fees you have to pay for them.

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Widow’s pension

If you are a single parent because your spouse has died, then you may be eligible to apply for a widow’s pension to help pay for the costs of raising your children. The amount will depend on your individual situation.

Tax deductions

There are various income tax (IRPF) reductions available for single parents, however, you must be officially divorced to benefit from them, not just separated.  This includes a deduction of €1,200 that you can request to be paid month by month throughout the year. Your tax base will also be reduced by €2,150 per year.

There are further tax benefits depending on what region of Spain you live in. For example, those in Andalusia can get a deduction of €100, plus the payment of 15 percent of the social security contributions in case you hire domestic help.

In the Canary Islands, you can also get a deduction of €100 and in Valencia, you can get a €300 discount.  

Housing benefit

Single-parent families on low income can get help in the form of housing benefits through the State Housing Plan, which will be valid until the end of 2022 and includes help for paying rent.   

Aid for energy bills

Single parents with low income will be able to benefit from the government's bono social eléctrico and térmico, benefits and reductions to help pay for rising electricity and heating prices. For those single parents eligible, it could include a cheque for between €40 and €375 to help pay for gas bills. 

It was announced on Thursday October 13th that there will be a further reduction on parts of energy bills from 60 percent to 65 percent. Those who are considered to be in an extremely vulnerable situation will also be able to get a further reduction from 70 to 80 percent. The amount of energy available for a discount has also been increased to 15 percent.  

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